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by [?]

[We make the following extract from one of our books–“Advice to Young Men on their Duties and Conduct in Life.”]

IF you have younger sisters, who are just entering society, all your interest should be awakened for them. You cannot but have seen some little below the surface, and already made the discovery that too few of the young men who move about in the various social circles to which you have admission, are fit associates for a pure-minded woman. Their exterior, it is true, is very fair; they sing well, they dance well, their persons are elegant, and their manners attractive; but you have met them when they felt none of the restraints of female society, and seen them unmask their real characters. You can remember the ribald jest, the obscene allusion, the sneer at virtue, the unblushing acknowledgment of licentiousness. You have heard them speak of this sweet girl, and that pure-minded woman, in terms that would have roused your deepest indignation, had your own sister been the subject of allusion.

You may know all these things, but your innocent sisters at home cannot know them, nor see reason for shunning the society of those whose real characters, if revealed, would cause them to turn away in disgust and horror. From the dangers of an acquaintanceship with such young men it is your duty to guard your sisters; and you must do this more by warding off the evil than by warnings against it. In order to this, you should make it a point of duty always to go with your sisters into company, and to be their companion, if possible, on all public occasions. By so doing, you can prevent the introduction of men whose principles are bad; or, if such introductions are forced upon them in spite of you, can throw in a timely word of caution. This latter it may be too late to do after an acquaintanceship is formed with a man whose character is detestable in your eyes, provided he have a fair exterior. Your sister will hardly be made to believe that one who is so attractive in all respects, and who can converse of virtue and honour so eloquently, can possibly have an impure or vicious mind. She will think you prejudiced. The great thing is to guard, by every means in your power, these innocent ones from the polluting presence of a bad man. You cannot tell how soon he may win the affections of the most innocent, confiding, and loving of them all, and draw her off from virtue. And even if his designs be honourable–if he win her but to wed her–her lot will be by no means an enviable one; he cannot make her happy; for happy no pure-minded woman ever has been, or ever can be made, by a corrupt, evil-minded, and selfish man.

You are a brother; your position is one of great responsibility; let this be ever before your mind.

On your faithfulness to your duty, may depend a lifetime of happiness or misery for those who are, or ought to be, very dear to you. But not only should you seek to guard them from the danger just alluded to–your affection for them should lead you to enter into their pleasures as far as in your power to do so; to give interest and variety to the home circle; to afford them, at all times, the assistance of your judgment in matters of trivial as well as grave importance. By this you will gain their confidence and acquire an influence over them that may, at some later period, enable you to serve them in a moment of impending danger.

We very often–indeed, far too often–see young men with sisters who appear to be entirely indifferent in regard to them. They rarely visit together; their associates, male and female, are strangers to each other; they appear to have no common interests. This state of things is the fault, nine times in ten, of the young men. It is the result of their neglect and indifference. There are very few sisters who do not love with a most tender and unselfish regard their brothers, especially their elder brothers, and who would not feel happier in being their companions than in the companionship of almost any one. Notwithstanding all this neglect and indifference, how willingly is every little office performed that adds to the brother’s comfort! How much care is there for him who gives back so little in return! The sister’s love is as unselfish as it is unostentatious. It is shown in acts, not in professions. How can any young man be indifferent to such love? How can he fail in its full and free reciprocation?